Small Grants

Small Grants are worth $5,000 per year for two years. The Darrell Posey Fellowship Program awards Small Grants to support Indigenous and local peoples’ groups and communities, or individuals working with them, to address traditional resource rights and related issues. The Small Grants provide small, strategic sums to fill gaps in funding, respond to crises, develop institutions or catalyze change.  

Seed practitioners during eco-cultural mapping workshop, Venda. (Photograph: Juliana Thornton, Mupo Foundation, 2013.)

Seed practitioners during eco-cultural mapping workshop, Venda. (Photograph: Juliana Thornton, Mupo Foundation, 2013.)


(philippines, 2014)

This federation of Indigenous peoples from Palawan Island in the Philippines has assisted its members with seeking ancestral land title, managing and conserving natural resources, lobbying against forest destruction from mining and oil palm plantations, and organizing sustainable community-based enterprises for Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs). The Small Grant was used by NATRIPAL to restore the sustainability of the almaciga tree resin industry by lobbying to put the management of this commercially valuable NTFP back in the hands of the Indigenous communities, who want to sustainably harvest this resource using traditional methods.

This Indigenous community group from the Colombian Amazon has worked hard to strengthen their traditional resource rights and receive legal recognition of their ancestral lands. They used the Small Grant to develop a management plan for the natural resources in their territory, based on their traditional knowledge, as well as to continue monitoring the activities of outside forces, who are mining and extracting other natural resources from their area.

San Martin Tikuna AMACAYACÚ

(columbia, 2014)

Dzomo la Mupo

(South Africa, 2012-2014)

Dzomo la Mupo is a small, community-based movement uniting seven minority indigenous clans in Venda region, rural Limpopo Province, South Africa. Established in 2009, it is formed mainly by women elders, makhadzis, the traditional custodians of Venda’s network of sacred forests. Their domain extends to the gardens or muse, and therefore to the knowledge of planting, harvesting and seed saving Their efforts to protect the Phiphidi sacred waterfall and forest has taken them to the courts and have worked to support improved community food production, recovery of lost seeds, and reforestation of riverbanks and degraded sacred sites. The Darrell Posey Fellowship small grant allowed them to document cultural knowledge and establish the traditional boundaries of three sacred forests, so that these sites may be registered under the South African Heritage Resources Act.

Martín Chavez

(Mexico, 2010-2012)

Martín Chavez is renowned for his work on the revitalization and re-valorization of Indigenous Rarámuri (Tarahumara) ecological knowledge and practice in Chihuahua. Martín’s perspective is holistic, integrating the valuing of language, natural history, a spiritual path, healing, philosophy and ethics with on-the-ground work recording interviews with elders, building a network of activists and wisdom-holders in what he considers to be his life’s work among his people and among all people. The small grant allowed Martín to launch a project with middle school students to record the wealth of their own Indigenous ethnobiological heritage and, most importantly, support in them their sense of pride, belonging and responsibility for the continuance of the deep Rarámuri knowledge and respect for these endangered ecosystems they call home.

The Amazon Conservation and Development Foundation

(Ecuador, 2010-2012)

CODEAMA is a local NGO dedicated to sustainable development in the Amazon region of Ecuador. Based in the city of Puyo, CODEAMA works with local governments, rural communities, schools, and individual landowners to promote best-practices in conservation of forests and watersheds, as well as sustainable agriculture and community health. This small grant supported CODEAMA’s work promoting the use of community video as a tool for revitalization of traditional health-related knowledge and practices. Specifically, it supported the purchase of video equipment, the training of a young Canelos-Kichwa leader in the use of video camera and editing techniques, and the distribution of edited videos to local villages and institutions.

The Cordillera Women’s Education Action Research Center

(The Phillipines, 2006-2008)

CWEARC is a non-governmental organization that has been empowering indigenous women in the Cordillera Region through capacity-building, and advocacy, directly supporting community-level women’s organizations address their socio-economic needs and problems. Funding from the Darrell Posey Small Grant program allowed CWEARC to start a community-based seed-banking and exchange project of indigenous women in two communities in the Benguet province. The seed-banking project aims to help the women preserve the indigenous varieties of rice, vegetables and fruits and to make these seeds available and accessible for continued use of the community as well as for exchange with other communities. The project also aims to strengthen the traditional role of indigenous women farmers as the seed-keepers in the community.


(The Phillipines, 2006-2008)

SAMBILOG is an organization formed by and for the indigenous Pala’wan and Molbog and long-time settlers and fishers from and around Bugsuk Island in Southern Palawan to uphold their land and resource rights after they were barred from their traditional fishing grounds by a multinational pearl farm corporation. Since its inception in 2000, SAMBILOG has taken various legal and meta-legal steps to: (a) regain access to the indigenous and non-indigenous fisherfolk’s traditional fishing grounds; and (b) obtain recognition for the Pala’wans’ and Molbogs’ title over their ancestral domain. With funding from the Darrell Posey small grant, SAMBILOG conducted an extensive ethnographic study to document the Pala’wans’ and Molbogs’ history and origin; their ancestral domains, including sacred and other significant sites; their socio-political systems, including indigenous laws and norms, and social and family structures; their economic systems, including traditional resource use and indigenous knowledge systems and practices; and current challenges they face. No study of this kind and extent has previously been conducted, and there is currently no comprehensive paper or record documenting the foregoing.


(Peru, 2005-2007)

Shinai is a small, grassroots Peruvian NGO. Established in 2002, it began by supporting the indigenous Nahua of the southeastern Amazon make and use territorial maps to successfully defend their territories and livelihoods from illegal mahogany logging. Now free from loggers, Nahua territory is currently threatened by several petroleum concessions. The Darrell Posey Small Grant supported exchanges between the Nahua and the Achuar, an indigenous people living in Northern Peru and Southern Ecuador who have experienced the ravages of the oil extraction industry. The exchanges provided the Nahua with first-hand experience of the social and environmental impacts of over 20 years of oil extraction in Achuar territory, and the strategies that some Achuar communities are using to confront new attempts to exploit oil on their lands. Shinai facilitiated this process, and provided training workshops on indigenous peoples’ rights and the impacts of oil and gas extraction for the Nahua, in order to support their decision-making processes about potential natural resource extraction on their lands.

GSAPP is a network comprised of community leaders, NGO representatives, agronomy technicians and others whose goal is to define, implement and inform communities about rural development strategies to address hunger, unemployment, and environmental destruction in the region. In particular, GSAPP supports and promotes dialogue to develop locally-conceived alternatives to the PPP (Plan Puebla-Panama) and the FTAA/TLC (Free Trade Agreement of the Americas/Trato de Libre Comercio). The Darrell Posey Small Grant supported GSAPP’s institutional capacity-building, as well as its outreach and extension activities in communities. These included workshops and technical assistance with small-scale traditional medicine and agricultural projects.

Grupo Solidario de Acción y Propuesta de Petén

(Guatemala, 2005-2007)

Augusto Jose Emmanuel Buenbrazo Gatmaytan

(The Phillipines, 2004-2006)

Augusto Jose Emmanuel Buenbrazo Gatmaytan is one of the few lawyers in the Philippines who has devoted his professional life to the cause of indigenous peoples’ rights. His achievements include helping to found the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center, securing land rights for tribal communities in Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Sur provinces, and representing indigenous groups before the Philippine Supreme Court to defend the constitutionality of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act, which was attacked by mining and other interests. The Darrell Posey Small Grant supported the provision legal and anthropological services to Tagdumahan, a federation of tribal Banwaon communities in San Luis, Agusan del Sur province. These services include protection of indigenous tenure rights of the Banwaon, development of a resource management plan, human rights advocacy, and production of an ethnographic description of Banwaon culture to support ancestral ownership of territory. He also continued to serve as legal consultant and organizer for the RGS-TFM (Religious Good Shepherd -Tribal Filipino ministry) Ancestral Domains Organizing Program, which monitors the land, resource and human rights situation of the various Banwaon and Manobo tribal communities in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. These communities are located in remote, forested areas that bear the environmental and cultural scars of the logging boom of the 1980′s. With the Ancestral Domains Organizing Program Mr. Gatmaytan facilitated the establishment of village organizations to strengthen local capacities for analysis and action, and provided skills and assistance to community leaders and organizers.

Grupo Curuperé, uses native Amazonian biodiversity to rescue fading folk art and Amazonian musical traditions while giving professional training to disadvantaged youth. During the grant period, Curuperé trained over 400 people, principally in the state of Pará, Brazil. Beneficiary communities ranged from the impoverished urban neighborhood of Bengui in Belém to the Quilombolas, descendents of African slaves, along the lower Acará River in Pará. Throughout the period of Darrell Posey Small Grant support, Grupo Curuperé increased the intake of students, built a larger workshop and office space, and purchased new tools and equipment. Delomarque Fernandes and Ronaldo Farias taught students how to identify materials in the forest, sustainable collection methods, and techniques for processing materials into instruments and jewelry. As a result, students showed an increase in self-esteem because of these new skills, and developed a greater awareness of the value of a healthy natural environment.

Grupo Curuperé

(Brazil, 2004-2006)

WAMIP is a worldwide alliance of peoples and communities that practice mobility as both a livelihood and conservation strategy. It was founded by roughly 40 mobile indigenous peoples’ representatives and partners gathered at the 5th World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa, in September 2003. WAMIP is working towards a future in which the rights of mobile indigenous peoples, and their relationship with the environment, are internationally recognized. The Darrell Posey Small Grant supported efforts to strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of the WAMIP Secretariat and Coordinating Committee, supporting a number of workshops and meetings with attendance by a number of indigenous delegates.

World Alliance of Mobile Indigenous Peoples